This is a review of "Untitled" recorded by Cardboard Cowboy. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2002.
From the depths of Zebra Industries, I'm clouted on the back of the head by a very interesting three track demo CD of side project material. These are dangerous times. Is this a man trying to break out of a formula, or is it a man recreating the Lennon/McCartney home tapes of 1966 from psychic flashbacks and half remembered rocumentaries? These are three very good pop songs rolled down a hill in a basket, kicked across the park and taken home for a good thrashing. Their hearts are warm and tuneful but their edges are all scuffed up and made sullen with distortions and noises and some rather pained and uncomfortable vocals. They start off with very horrid over strummed acoustic guitar whose naggingly repetitive rhythm gets exaggerated
later by distorted electric and some tinkly percussion. But there's also that ululating McCartney bass line singing along in the middle and it is a very catchy little song. Various noises wander in and out with pulses that don't sit comfortably in the tempo.
Track two goes euphorically pretty, and there's some cute 60's lead guitar from a Pink Floyd album in the more echoey room next door. It's a rolling-along cuddly song with lots of imagination in the execution. Some weird harmony singing nearly registers as inspired. I could like this one a lot.
Track three uses the ominous acoustic guitar opener, but moves on with Noel Gallagher confidence and Gorky-on-a-bad-day-singing. The hooky chorus absolutely must have been written before, but god knows where, and it could overwhelm the nation, no trouble. Simple and stupid, but gloriously pop. "Boy Blue, Boy Blue, Is there nothing we can do?" And some great collectors' item electronic organ type noises that purge memories of the acoustic guitar abuse.
The more I play this the more I like it and the more I hate that acoustic guitar in the first eight bars. But I guess it's a try out (and it does sound that way). With input from some other people and a couple of fights it could be very special. And those high pitched (only for the dogs) noises in track one will either have to go or be pulled back closer to the human ear's normal tolerance.